Monday, July 1, 2013

A Couple of Sad Stories

Today I got to go for a ride on a dragon!!! Or at least a dragon boat... It went up the river and stopped at Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu is one of the most famous pagodas in Vietnam and the largest with seven layers. It's image is used in all sorts of ways... and it is a symbol of the Imperial City of Hue. There were many stairs to climb!

Whew... and we're up the stairs but you can't actually climb up the pagoda.

That's OK cause there was a big bell in a little pagoda next to it...

From my time in... Dalat, I think... I learned that one should always look inside the bell...

Yup, there are all sorts of little messages tucked up in there, probably prayers and requests by people. I'm not sure how they get in there though because even a little bear has trouble crawling underneath!

Oh and it is soooo hot today!!!

Ahhh... that's better... we certainly keep the bottled water companies in business.

Ohhh... a real live orchid, growing out of the ground!! So that's what they look like!

This is a speckled orchid... beary pretty.

Oooohhhh... purple... ooohhh...

It is beary peaceful here because once again it is the middle of the day. All of the other tourists are in air conditioned restaurants having lunch... but I am out here exploring! This pagoda is famous for another reason. Back in 1963, Buddhist monks were being persecuted by the government of southern Vietnam and one of the monks drove to Saigon and killed himself to bring attention to their plight. The car in which he drove to Saigon is on display here. It is a beary sad story...

After the pagoda, we went across the river to check out the Tiger Arena. It is a round arena made out of brick, sort of like the Roman coliseums... The imperial people would come here and watch battles between elephants and tigers/panthers/leopards. Those are the big cat gates below...

The symbol of the imperial family was the elephant... and the elephants always won the fights. The people would starve the big cats, declaw them and then pull their teeth or sew their mouths shut. It was pretty much a non-starter for the cats.

Which is kind of sad because I have some housecats who are my friends... and I like cats!

Back on the boat and back to the city!

That boat in the background looks like it is near to sinking but it is a deep boat that is transporting gravel and sand down the river. I saw lots of these and although they didn't look very secure, they all seemed to make it OK!


  1. That dragon boat and huge bell sure are cool. We hope Sanday wasn't standing inside the bell when they rang it!

    The bell also reminds us of a great radio mystery story from the 1970s, The Fateful Bell from the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, all about ancient China. Papa can send it to you as an audio file when you get back to Canada.

  2. Noooo... not standing inside!! That would be beary loud! Hmmm... a CBS Radio Mystery??? Would love to hear that. Audio files are so big though... maybe share it through Dropbox or something?

  3. What a sad sad story about the elephants fighting big cats! Makes me sad, we love cats too!